To help its customers navigate through social distancing restrictions and assist with business continuity, TVU Networks, the market and technology leader in cloud and IP-based live video solutions, rolled out major initiatives in 2020 to assist with remote production and remote fan engagement. The company began the year winning a Technical and Engineering Emmy Award for its VoCIP (video over bonded cellular internet technology), but later introduced new and upgraded solutions, including TVU Partyline, TVU Producer 3.0, and a TVU One cellular mobile transmitter that was one of the first industry devices shipping with embedded 5G modems.
“COVID-19 forced broadcasters to migrate from a traditional, studio-based production infrastructure to outside-the-box thinking for newscasts and other programming,” explained Paul Shen, CEO, TVU Networks. “Throughout the year, solutions like our TVU Anywhere app for remote production and TVU Grid for content distribution saw a significant increase in use, while our new TVU Partyline collaboration tool helped broadcasters overcome the limitations of typical video conferencing solutions.”
With broadcasters scrambling to create new workflows because of COVID-19, TVU experienced a 500 percent increase in the total number of hours of TVU Anywhere use since the beginning of the pandemic. The company also reported 1.3 million hours of mobile transmitter use, as well as 3.4 million hours of content distributed through the TVU Grid point-to-multipoint infrastructure.
“As we celebrate our company’s 16th anniversary, we are positioned to deliver more cloud-based solutions to even more vertical markets across the globe in 2021,” Shen added. “Internally, we adopted the DevOps process and Jira for project management, allowing us to quickly develop, test and implement customer requests practically overnight.”
As COVID-19 began to impact workflows, TVU provided extensive outreach to the broadcast community, as it needed to transition to remote production due to restrictions. When newscasts first moved from studios to living rooms, TVU’s Business Continuity Initiative provided the TVU Anywhere app and other no-cost tools to reporters and anchors forced to abruptly transition to at-home production.
TVU also launched the Project Pool Feed initiative, which let government agencies share critical updates daily regarding efforts to combat the virus with local broadcasters and other media outlets while allowing reporters to respect social distancing requirements. Powered by TVU Grid, government officials shared live video pool feeds and also had the use of free TVU Anywhere app on their mobile phones.
As part of a consortium of technology providers providing the global video pool feed of the first manned commercial SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launch in May, TVU provided hundreds of media organizations with live access to launch coverage through TVU Grid.
In May, the company also announced TVU Partyline, a collaborative solution for TVU Producer. Designed to support a “social production” paradigm that allows content creators to move beyond traditional studio-based workflows, TVU Partyline’s real-time interactive layer (RTIL) delivers real-time interaction between talent, crew, and external content contributors. TVU Partyline, which has already been used in several high-profile events, offers three modes: group production collaboration, press briefings, and Mosaic.
With full HD video (1080p/60) and synchronized audio in a familiar video conferencing interface, TVU Partyline helps broadcasters explore new ways to effectively pool resources from various locations. For example, producers can coordinate production efforts with citizen journalists, while limiting their access to the production discussion. TVU Partyline can support large groups of users from any location through the TVU Anywhere mobile app or laptop and web browser.
Also in May, TVU launched TVU Producer 3.0. In response to customer feedback, the updated multi-camera cloud production solution includes an audio mixing panel, which uses a browser-based interface to provide full control of all audio signals from any location via touch screen. TVU’s patented time synchronization technology ensures the TVU Producer Audio Mixer Panel has zero latency execution of production commands, plus synchronization between audio and video signals. TVU Producer 3.0 also features Partyline integration via RTIL, graphics overlays, replay, synchronized switching, and SCTE pass-through for remote production.
TVU also unveiled its TVU One with HEVC and embedded 5G modules in May for full 5G infrastructure support. The sixth generation of the company’s mobile IP video transmitter uses the patented TVU Inverse StatMux Plus (IS+) for reliable transmission of 1080p HDR and 4K HLG/HDR. It supports 100 Mbps over a 5G cellular infrastructure, and can transmit simultaneously over multiple connections, including cellular 3G/4G/LTE/5G, microwave, satellite, BGAN, WiFi, and Ethernet.
Broadcasters also turned to TVU for U.S. election coverage support. On Election Day, there was historic usage of TVU solutions, well beyond prior elections, including 1,500 unique destinations through the TVU Grid infrastructure and 5 million minutes of video transmission. TVU also partnered with FedNet and CNN Newsource prior to the election to provide easy access to real-time and archive feeds via TVU Search.
With demand growing for remote and cloud-based production solutions across different verticals, TVU expanded its global team with a number of industry veterans to meet the increased interest and to service a growing base of customers. New team members are focused on the sports and entertainment industry, product marketing and solutions, and sales efforts in a number of regions.